Thoughts on biking in Orlando

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Riding a bicycle is often perceived as a very dangerous way to get around Central Florida. Statistically, the chances of getting injured or killed are higher in the Central Florida area than most other parts of the nation. Driving is also very dangerous, but we still do it anyway.

Although there are far too many staggering facts related to bicycle safety, it doesn’t mean that people should not ride a bike. I ride a bike nearly every day, and there are many more times I experience joy rather than fear for my life.

As long as you know and follow the rules, riding a bike doesn’t have to be intimidating. The easiest thing to remember is to ride a bike like you would a car. Always assume that other people are not paying attention. I also notice far too often that people riding at night are not equipped with proper lighting, making it a danger to themselves and other people who cannot see them.

The infrastructure in Orlando isn’t perfect, but when more people ride bikes, more infrastructure can be provided. As someone who also drives a car, encouraging more cars on the road does not make sense. The very first car-parking space to be replaced with bicycle parking in Florida was in front of Ethos Vegan restaurant — where the Hammered Lamb is now.

This one space provides parking for about a dozen bikes and has helped the local business every day, which, in turn, reduces the locals from driving and taking up more parking spaces for cars. Building infrastructure for other modes of transportation other than cars helps everyone.

Bike share has been of great importance to the city. Having access to bikes allows people to make decisions that were not offered in years past. Not only has bike share given access to bikes, but it also allows people to not have to worry about two-way trips like a normal bicycle would.

Sometimes it makes sense to use different modes of transportation throughout the day. Bike share has also been essential in providing real data via GPS movement. This data is provided to the city to better aid in infrastructure improvements where best needed. Knowing where people might want to ride versus where people actually ride has been vital to bicycle infrastructure.

The only problem has been the ages of riders tracked, as users are required to be 18 to rent a bike-share bicycle. Catering infrastructure to children is equally important, as riding a bicycle and walking are vital modes of transportation for kids. In many parts of the world, children have the freedom and the ability to ride around without parents. That should be the ultimate goal.

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